12 Best Photo Spots on Oahu to Check Out

Are you looking for the most Instagrammable places on Oahu? Here are the 12 best photos on Oahu to check out.

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This summer, my sister, brother-in-law, and I headed back to Oahu for my niece’s baptism. We originally planned our trip to visit and spend time with family on the island. Still, we decided to extend it to visit additional spots on the island. While I’ve been to Oahu almost a dozen times, I never created an Oahu Instagram guide until now. I knew this would be the trip where I finally would piece together the 12 best photo spots on Oahu.

Here are the 12 best photo spots on Oahu to check out:

1. Bean About Town

Address: 3538 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816

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Bean About Town has locations both in Europe and in Honolulu’s Kaimuki neighborhood. Founded by Olivier Vetter, Bean About Town’s Honolulu location roasts their fresh signature Bean About Town South American beans on site. Although this coffee shop is small inside, they have an outdoor seating area with this mural.

2. Plantoem

Address: 3457 Waialae Ave Unit 203, Honolulu, HI 96816

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If you love plants and coffee, I recommend stopping by Plantoem in Kaimuki. Plantoem is both a plant nursery and a coffee shop. It might be easy to miss on the street, but a ramp leads to a parking lot and the front of the store. It’s on the second floor of the Lafite Plaza.

I loved my matcha latte and walking through the nursery. I also loved that there were plenty of tables and chairs to hang out inside.  

3. Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trailhead

Address: Makapuu Lighthouse Rd, Honolulu, HI 96825

If you’re looking for an easy family hike on Oahu, I recommend doing the Makapu’u Point Light House Trail. The entire trail is paved and 2.5 miles long roundtrip.

There are beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. There are steep parts of the trail, so I recommend wearing athletic or hiking shoes (although I did see people complete the route in sandals). When you get to the top of the trail, you’ll see a direct view of the Makapu’u Lighthouse. This lighthouse was built in 1909.

Tip: There is no shade or cover along the trail, so I recommend doing the hiking trail early in the morning or the first half of the day. The parking lot is also tiny, so cars end up parking alongside the road. Be careful of cars coming in and out and trying to turn around in the parking lot or the street.

4. Lanikai Beach

Address: Lanikai Beach, Kailua, HI

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Lanikai Beach is my favorite beach on Oahu. The waters are calm, and you can see the Mokulua Islands from the shore. This beach doesn’t have any shops or restrooms along the beach. I recommend picking up snacks or food before you head to the beach.

Tip: I recommend parking along Lanikai Park. My family on Oahu recently told me they’ve been towing cars parking in the neighborhood closest to the public beach access walkways. Do not park in front of driveways or people’s homes. I also recommend going on the weekdays if you can.

5. Lanikai Pillbox Hike

Address: Lanikai Pillbox Kailua, HI 96734

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Lanikai Pillbox Hike is probably one of the most popular hikes on Oahu. The Lanikai Pillboxes were originally the Coast Artillery observation stations in 1942. The views of the Pacific Ocean and Lanikai Beach are breathtaking. It can get quite busy during the weekends, so I do recommend visiting on the weekdays if possible.

Even though this is a short hike, it’s steep, and I recommend more intermediate hikers tackle this hike. I’ve had friends who never hiked complete this trail, but it was pretty challenging for them with the heat (there is no shade along the hike) and the incline.

Additionally, since this is one of the most popular hikes, parking at the base of the hike is nearly impossible. I recommend parking near Lanikai Park and walking over to the trailhead.

Tip: There is barely any coverage or shade on this trail. I recommend doing this hike in the first half of the trail or early in the morning.

6. ARVO Cafe – at SALT At Our Kaka’ako

Address: 324 Coral St Suite 1A-104b, Honolulu, HI 96813

If you’re looking for a trendy, Instagram-worthy breakfast spot in Honolulu, I recommend checking out ARVO Café. There is only outdoor seating but plants and fun umbrellas frame the café at the tables.

7. Hawaiian Aroma Caffe Ohana East, Ohana East By Outrigger

Address: 150 Kaʻiulani Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

Hawaiian Aroma Caffee has three locations in Honolulu. If you want to find these stairs, stop by the location near Waikiki Beach in the Ohana East by Outrigger hotel. We grabbed a full breakfast and coffee before heading to Lanikai for the day.

8. The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort

Address: 2259 Kalākaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

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The Royal Hawaiian hotel first opened in 1927. The iconic pink color came from the Portuguese influence on its architectural design. It was only the second luxury property on Waikiki Beach.

9. Sunrise Shack at Sunset Beach

Address: 59-158 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712

The Sunrise Shack opened in 2016 on Oahu’s North Shore. They were founded by three brothers and their friend who grew up on the Hawaiian Islands.

10. Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

Address: 45-680 Luluku Rd, Kaneohe, HI 96744

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Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Garden is over 400 acres open from 9 am-4 pm daily. If you get a chance to even drive through the gardens, I recommend doing so. We walked down and back

11. Byodo In-Temple

Address: 47-200 Kahekili Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744

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The Byodo-In Temple is a smaller-scale replica of the Byodo-In temple in Uji, Japan. Located at the foot of Ko’olau Mountains, Byodo-InTemple was established in 1968. This temple is a non-practicing Buddhist temple.

12. Waikiki Beach

Address: Kalākaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

There are tons of great spots to take photos along Waikiki Beach.

Photo tip: If you want to cut out the crowds, I recommend shooting upward and capturing the palm trees in the background.

What other places would you add to the list of best photo spots on Oahu?

For more photo spots and instagrammable places in other cities, I recommend checking out:

10 Most Instagrammable Spots in Amsterdam

30 Most Instagrammable Places in Paris

12 Most Instagrammable Places in New Orleans

12 Best Photo Spots in Denver

Thank you for reading the 12 best photo spots on Oahu!

Love,

Emma

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